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Agricultural Production Economics and Environmental Risk Management

Investigators
Swinton, Scott
Institutions
Michigan State University
Start date
2008
End date
2013
Objective
  1. Economic analysis of agricultural production technologies and management practices. This area encompasses a wide variety of topics, cutting across the many agricultural enterprises important to farmers in Michigan and the rest of the world. It extends to the ways that processing and marketing may affect production practices. A.1. Profitability of alternative technologies and management practices. Profitability and economic risk associated with alternative technologies for managing crop production inputs and products. A.2. Environmental and health effects of alternative technologies. Incorporating these effects into market-based profitability analyses may take the form of multicriteria analysis (e.g., trade-offs) or direct use of nonmarket values of these effects. A.3. Ecosystem service values from alternative systems. Ecosystem services represent an important category of environmental effects that typically are not valued through existing markets, despite having widely recognized importance to humans and other species. As biological research moves more explicitly toward ecosystem management, it becomes pressing to develop new, cost-effective economic methods for estimating the value of ecosystem services and communicating these values to land managers.
  2. Economic analysis of environmental policies affecting agricultural management. This area covers the design of effective public policies and private contracts that affect environmental policy, as well as assessment of proposed or existing policies. B.1. Incentive design in agricultural environmental policies and contracts. Develop and evaluate new public policies and private contract alternatives that offer farmers suitable management flexibility while meeting social goals for environmental quality and food safety. B.2. Economic assessment of selected existing public policies and contract relationships affecting agricultural production practices and their environmental and health impacts.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Farmers and ranchers manage a large proportion of the Earth's land area. This research explores their economic behavior, including behavior in their private interests (profitability, income risk reduction, household health, local environment) and behavior affecting societal interests (productivity, external environmental effects). Technology, policy and markets all shape farmers' choices on what, where and how to produce agricultural goods and services. This research examines how technology and policy affect farmer behavior, particularly as that behavior influences the ecosystem services that agriculture produces and the ecosystem services on which productive agriculture relies. It also evaluates the outcomes of policy and technology introductions.

Home Contact Current Research Information System Item No. 1 of 1 ACCESSION NO: 0180266 SUBFILE: CRIS PROJ NO: MICL01905 AGENCY: CSREES MICL PROJ TYPE: HATCH PROJ STATUS: REVISED START: 01 OCT 2008 TERM: 30 SEP 2013 INVESTIGATOR: Swinton, S. M. PERFORMING INSTITUTION: AGRICULTURAL, FOOD & RESOURCE ECONOMICS MICHIGAN STATE UNIV EAST LANSING, MI 48824 AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION ECONOMICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL RISK MANAGEMENT NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Farmers and ranchers manage a large proportion of the Earth's land area. This research explores their economic behavior, including behavior in their private interests (profitability, income risk reduction, household health, local environment) and behavior affecting societal interests (productivity, external environmental effects). Technology, policy and markets all shape farmers' choices on what, where and how to produce agricultural goods and services. This research examines how technology and policy affect farmer behavior, particularly as that behavior influences the ecosystem services that agriculture produces and the ecosystem services on which productive agriculture relies. It also evaluates the outcomes of policy and technology introductions. OBJECTIVES: A. Economic analysis of agricultural production technologies and management practices. This area encompasses a wide variety of topics, cutting across the many agricultural enterprises important to farmers in Michigan and the rest of the world. It extends to the ways that processing and marketing may affect production practices. A.1. Profitability of alternative technologies and management practices. Profitability and economic risk associated with alternative technologies for managing crop production inputs and products. A.2. Environmental and health effects of alternative technologies. Incorporating these effects into market-based profitability analyses may take the form of multicriteria analysis (e.g., trade-offs) or direct use of nonmarket values of these effects. A.3. Ecosystem service values from alternative systems. Ecosystem services represent an important category of environmental effects that typically are not valued through existing markets, despite having widely recognized importance to humans and other species. As biological research moves more explicitly toward ecosystem management, it becomes pressing to develop new, cost-effective economic methods for estimating the value of ecosystem services and communicating these values to land managers. B. Economic analysis of environmental policies affecting agricultural management. This area covers the design of effective public policies and private contracts that affect environmental policy, as well as assessment of proposed or existing policies. B.1. Incentive design in agricultural environmental policies and contracts. Develop and evaluate new public policies and private contract alternatives that offer farmers suitable management flexibility while meeting social goals for environmental quality and food safety. B.2. Economic assessment of selected existing public policies and contract relationships affecting agricultural production practices and their environmental and health impacts. APPROACH: Methods by objective: For A.1 & B.2: For ex ante analyses, deterministic, static budgeting methods (enterprise, partial and break-even) will be routinely applied, along with stochastic budgeting where profitability risk is important. For problems involving profitability of longterm investments, capital budgeting and related investment analysis methods will be applied. More detailed analyses of profitability risk will incorporate ideas from expected utility theory into analyses that make parametric assumptions about risk aversion levels as well as nonparametric methods such as stochastic dominance. For technology development research, we will engage with biophysical scientists in identifying the key inputs and outcomes that are likely to be valued by society (whether via markets or not). Biophysical measurements will then be planned so as to ensure suitable data for economic analysis and assessment of likely adoption and environmental impacts. For ex post analyses, empirical studies involving the measurement of technology adoption and assessment of economic effects from aggregate technology adoption or policy effects will use welfare analysis methods, and will correct for spatial correlation effects where appropriate. For A2, A3 and B2: Colleague researchers in biological and environmental sciences as well as simulation models will be relied upon for measurement or estimation of environmental and human health effects and ecosystem services of alternative technologies and policies. Economic analyses will be either 1) trade-off or multi-criteria analysis, which does not entail conversion of non-marketed environmental, health and ecosystems services into monetary values, or 2) non-market valuation methods, ranging from simple green budgets to the revealed and stated preferences methods (e.g., cost of restitution, cost of illness, averting and mitigating expenditures, travel cost, hedonic estimation, contingent valuation, conjoint analysis). B.1: The economic theory of principal and agent offers useful principles for designing incentives to induce "agents" to conform with the objectives of the "principal". Well-designed environmental policies can limit the potential for hidden noncompliance that arises from the high cost of monitoring farm operations and resulting information asymmetry between farmers who know well their operations (and surroundings) and regulators who do not. Approaches to inducing the adoption of environmental technologies for agriculture range from simply supplying information to mixtures of "carrot" incentives (e.g., subsidies, cost-sharing, certification programs) and "stick" incentives (e.g., taxes, performance requirements, input requirements, environmental liaibility).

PROGRESS: 2007/01 TO 2007/12
OUTPUTS: Research on economic valuation of ecosystem services from agriculture culminated this year in an edited special issue of the journal Ecological Economics on "Ecosystem Services and Agriculture." The issue reviewed topics ranging from ecological research (such as the NSF Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) project) to agro-environmental policy analysis, and it included contributions by several Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station scientists. In a separate NSF-supported project, we conducted six farmer focus groups to understand farmers' attitudes toward changing crop production practices to enhance ecosystem services output and their willingness to accept payment to adopt them. That work is continuing with a contingent valuation farm survey in 2008. Separately, I organized a workshop on ecosystem services from working lands that brought together researchers from six LTER sites. I am part of a group of MSU and University of Wisconsin researchers who were awarded support for a major Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center from the U.S. Department of Energy. My work will examine how changing bioenergy processing technology and markets will affect land use decisions by farmers that, in turn, affect the mix and value of ecosystem services. Graduate student research into bioeconomic modeling for the valuation of pest predation services by natural enemies culminated in the completion of Wei Zhang's PhD dissertation and papers presented at the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) annual meeting. Research on economics of soybean aphid management with support from USDA/RAMP shows that the research and extension effort behind developing integrated pest management (IPM) thresholds for soybean aphid will have a net economic impact of $1.1 billion over the period 2000-2017. This was presented by Feng Song at AAEA and Entomology Society of America. USAID-supported collaborative work in Ecuador showed that new disease-resistant bean varieties have generated a rate of return of 29% over 1982-2006. This work culminated in the M.S. thesis of Daniel Mooney, who presented to AAEA on related work from Honduras using spatial econometric modeling of disease-resistant bean varietal adoption. Research on the impact of premature adult death due to HIV/AIDS on agricultural production and incomes in Malawi culminated in the Ph.D. dissertation of Edward Mazhangara. Newly published research with former graduate students examined the effect on Kenyan smallholder farmers of compliance with European food safety export standards and the effect of human capital on agricultural productivity in Pakistan. Internally at Michigan State University, my research team examining cost and returns to environmental stewardship on campus completed a study on financial and environmental net benefits to increased capability for two-sided printing and copying.
PARTICIPANTS: Individuals: Richard Bernsten, professor, Agricultural Economics, MSU. Christine DiFonzo, associate professor, Entomology, MSU. Stephen K. Hamilton, professor, Zoology and Kellogg Biological Station, MSU. Douglas A. Landis, professor, Entomology, MSU. Frank Lupi, associate professor, Agricultural Economics and Fisheries and Wildlife, MSU. Julius Okello, lecturer, University of Nairobi, Kenya. Matthew O'Neal, assistant professor, Entomology, Iowa State University. Eduardo Peralta, national program for legumes and Andean grains (PRONALEG), Instituto Nacional Autonomo de Investigaciones Agricolas (INIAP), Ecuador. David Ragsdale, professor, Entomology, University of Minnesota. Natalie Rector, extension agricultural agent, MSU Extension. G. Philip Robertson, professor, Crop and Soil Sciences and Kellogg Biological Station, MSU. Robert Shupp, assistant professor, Agricultural Economics, MSU. Cristian Subia, national program for legumes and Andean grains (PRONALEG), Instituto Nacional Autonomo de Investigaciones Agricolas (INIAP), Ecuador. Wopke van der Werf, professor, Wageningen University, Netherlands. Huilan Chen, PhD student, valuation of ecosystem services from crop farming via elicitation of taxpayers' preferences (NSF). Christine Jolejole, MS student, valuation of ecosystem services from crop farming via elicitation of farmers' preferences (NSF). Shan Ma, PhD student, valuation of site-based ecosystem services using hedonic land prices (NSF KBS-LTER). Edward Mazhangara, PhD student, economics of rural household adjustment to premature adult death from HIV-AIDS in Malawi. Daniel Mooney, MS student, economic impact of disease-resistant dry bean varieties in northern Ecuador (USAID Bean-Cowpea CRSP). Alexandra Peralta, MS student, costs and returns to environmental stewardship at Michigan State University (MSU). Elan Satriawan, PhD student (MSU). Feng Song, PhD student, economic impact of IPM on soybean aphid (USDA-RAMP). Wei Zhang, PhD student, value of natural pest control ecosystem services (NSF KBS-LTER). Partner organizations: Instituto Nacional Autonomo de Investigaciones Agricolas (INIAP), Ecuador. Iowa State University. MSU Extension. University of Nairobi, Kenya. University of Minnesota. Wageningen University, Netherlands. Training and professional development: Huilan Chen, PhD student, Agricultural Economics. Christine Jolejole, MS student, Agricultural Economics. Shan Ma, PhD student, Agricultural Economics. Edward Mazhangara, PhD student, Agricultural Economics. Daniel Mooney, MS student, Agricultural Economics. Alexandra Peralta, MS student, Agricultural Economics. Feng Song,
PhD student, Agricultural Economics. Wei Zhang, PhD student, Agricultural Economics. TARGET AUDIENCES: Farmers, agricultural researchers, ecological researchers, extension agents, and policy makers in the Midwestern and national United States, as well as in Ecuador, Kenya, Pakistan and international development organizations. Specific cases include the collaborator organizations listed under "Participants" as well as the wider farming, scientific and policy community.

IMPACT: 2007/01 TO 2007/12
One example of research impact comes not from the impact of my own work, but from my efforts to measure the impact of research into integrated pest management. IPM research and extension have received federal support for nearly a half century. The high ex ante rate of return to IPM threshold recommendations for soybean aphid illustrates how that research investment has established the capability to conduct rapid adaptive research to combat a new invasive pest species. Reasonably conservative assumptions lead to an estimated welfare gain of $1.1 billion in 2005 dollars, enough to generate a 10% inflation-free internal rate of return and leave $577 million toward compensating prior basic research into action threshold IPM.

PROGRESS: 2006/01/01 TO 2006/12/31
Research on economic valuation of ecosystem services from agriculture in collaboration with the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) project at Kellogg Biological Station led to symposia at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) annual meetings. Graduate student research into bioeconomic modeling for the valuation of pest predation services by natural enemies led to papers presented at Cambridge University and the AAEA annual meeting. Related activities are exploring the statistical reliability of different soybean aphid natural enemy sampling methods with Iowa State University researchers and modeling efficient spatial configuration of natural enemy habitat with a Wageningen University researcher. NSF-supported research is underway to study farmers' willingness to accept payment to adopt crop production practices that enhance ecosystem services from agriculture. I was awarded an LTER network mini-grant to organize a workshop on ecosystem services from working lands. Related to the economics of ecosystem services research, I was invited to join LTER Science Council to advance its network research planning, and I completed my contribution to a National Research Council book on the status of pollinators in North America. Research on economics of soybean aphid management with support from USDA/RAMP is showing that Best Management Practices that call for insecticide application based on a soybean aphid scouting threshold is more profitable than no control and slightly better than prophylactic control in Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota. Continuing work is estimating the economic impact of soybean aphids on the North Central states, as well as the value of research and extension to manage the aphid. In USAID-supported collaborative work in Ecuador, a survey of 120 bean farmers is underway to evaluate the economic and environmental impact of new disease-resistant bean varieties. Supervised graduate student research underway covers the predicted spatial adoption of drought-resistant beans in Honduras and of integrated pest management techniques in Nicaragua, as well as the impact of premature adult death due to HIV/AIDS on agricultural production and incomes in Malawi. Internally at Michigan State University, I lead a research team examining cost and returns to environmental stewardship in the university.

IMPACT: 2006/01/01 TO 2006/12/31
Until recently, attention to environmental issues in agriculture focused on pollution and biodiversity loss. The new research thrust into ecosystem services explore ways that farmers can make positive contributions through their historic roles as managers of ecosystems. Examples of potential contributions include the sequestration of carbon in soils and the management of wildlife habitat. My research into the valuation of ecosystem services to and from agriculture is highlighting the value of those services to society. The AAAS and AAEA symposia received coverage in the national press and academic journals. As this research progresses, it has the potential to identify policy recommendations to enhance the provision of ecosystem services needed by society.

PROGRESS: 2005/01/01 TO 2005/12/31
Research thrust on economic valuation of ecosystem services from agriculture in collaboration with the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) project at Kellogg Biological Station led to national workshop on 'Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Agriculture.' Spin-offs underway in 2006 from the workshop include an edited special issue of Ecological Economics and two symposia at national scientific conferences. The ecosystems service research with a Ph.D. student also produced a paper on valuation of pest predation services as an intermediate product. Continuing LTER research in that vein is empirically examining the value of lady beetle predation of soybean aphid. In 2005, I also received a new NSF grant to study farmers' willingness to accept and citizens' willingness to pay for ecosystem services from agriculture. Related to the economics of ecosystem services research, I am participating in two national task forces: LTER network planning and a National Research Council panel on the status of pollinators in North America. New research on economics of soybean aphid management with support from a USDA/RAMP project is currently evaluating the profitability of alternative control methods in a North Central regional project. In international research, collaborative work on dry bean production systems in Latin America shows that in Nicaragua, farmer field school extension training for integrated pest management did not accomplish goals of increasing farmer profitability and reducing pesticide exposure. However, we identified traits of the non-governmental organizations conducting the training that increased the likelihood of success. In related research on pest management economics in Ecuador, a survey of 27 bean farmers revealed that some toxic insecticides and few toxic fungicides are used in growing beans; ongoing analysis is examining trends since 2000. Data from a new survey of 48 farms in 2005 is being analyzed to explore relative input use and pesticide risk comparing dry beans with other vegetable crops. Supervised graduate student research underway covers how Kenyan green bean growers are influenced by European Union pesticide standards, determinants of farm and nonfarm income shares among rural Bolivians, predicted spatial adoption of drought-resistant beans in Honduras, and impact of premature adult death due to HIV/AIDS on agricultural production and incomes in Malawi.

IMPACT: 2005/01/01 TO 2005/12/31
The impact evaluation of farmer field school extension of integrated pest management (IPM) in Nicaragua showed that the program was ineffective at achieving its goals of increased farmer profitability and reduced use of toxic pesticides. A key cause of poor performance was that some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that implement IPM farmer field schools were poorly prepared to do so. By selecting NGOs that make agriculture a priority, have prior experience in agricultural extension and have agents trained in IPM methods, governments can significantly increase the likelihood of successful IPM training impacts through farmer field schools. Alternatively, by switching back to the traditional training and visit extension system, the government of Nicaragua could save significant sums and increase the effectiveness of its extension efforts in IPM.

PROGRESS: 2004/01/01 TO 2004/12/31
In pest management research, presented paper on economics of site-specific weed management to Weed Sci. Soc. of America. Collaborative research on environmental management in bean production systems in Central America explored trade-offs between profitability and pesticide exposure among bean farmers in Honduras and Ecuador. Reduced fungicide benefits of bean golden mosaic virus-resistant bean varieties in Honduras are offset by lower market prices. Ecuador bean grower survey reveals that few dangerous pesticides are used by farmers when growing beans, but more compounds are used in vegetable crops (research ongoing). Economic and environmental impact assessment survey of Farmer Field School graduates in Nicaragua shows included interviews with 436 farmers. Early results suggest that adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) is motivated by pesticide-related concerns about human health, but not to threats to beneficial insects. Edited book appeared on assessing the economic value of environmental impacts from natural resource management research and interventions. Began major new research effort into economic valuation of ecosystem services from agriculture in collaboration with the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) project at Kellogg Biological Station. Supervised graduate student research underway covers how Kenyan green bean growers are influenced by European Union pesticide standards, how charcoal production by farmers on Peru's Amazon rainforest frontier affects deforestation, and determinants of farm and nonfarm income shares among rural Bolivians. Major editorial activity apart from book was service as Case Studies Editor of Review of Agricultural Economics.

IMPACT: 2004/01/01 TO 2004/12/31
Case study analysis can provide a powerful tool for two purposes: researching or learning how decisions are made. As Case Study Editor of the Review of Agricultural Economics during 2001-04, I developed new guidelines for research and teaching case studies. According to many authors, my advice and editing allowed them to develop effective case studies for both teaching and research communication.

PROGRESS: 2003/01/01 TO 2003/12/31
In pest management research, book chapter explored economics of site-specific management for weeds, insects, and other pests. CAST book chapter reviewed research on economics of integrated pest management (IPM). MSU Extension bulletin on cherry orchard floor management found that fertigation can reduce nitrate leaching while maintaining profitability. Research on pest management in Zimbabwe cotton showed that unawareness of pesticide risks causes hidden health costs and over use of pesticides; IPM education in Zimbabwe is a major factor in adoption of improved pest management methods. In Ethiopia, adoption of stone terraces to reduce soil erosion is found to be much more likely when land tenure is perceived to be secure. Major research project on links between poverty and natural resource deterioration in Latin America culminated with a special issue of the journal World Development that explores how natural resource and socio-economic conditions affect policy solutions to environmental degradation. Accompanying book published in Chile reports results to Spanish-speaking audience. Collaborative research on environmental management in bean production systems in Central America began with a statistical workshop for agricultural economists. Held in Nicaragua, the workshop generated a statistics primer published as a staff paper in English and Spanish. New research on methods for assessing the economic value of environmental impacts from natural resource management research resulted in a proceedings chapter and an edited book underway. A related review of economic methods for analyzing the impact of IPM programs was presented at the national conference on IPM. Supervised graduate student research underway covers how Kenyan green bean growers are influenced by European Union pesticide standards, how Malawi households adjust to premature adult deaths (e.g., due to HIV-AIDS), and how charcoal production by farmers on Peru's Amazon rainforest frontier affects deforestation. Major editorial activities include service as Case Studies Editor of Review of Agricultural Economics and editing of book on economic impact assessment of natural resource management research.

IMPACT: 2003/01/01 TO 2003/12/31
Ammonium nitrate fertilizer that is broadcast applied in spring to Michigan tart cherry orchards on sandy soils can lead to over 50 lbs per acre of nitrate leaching below the root zone. Whether such leaching could cause health problems depends upon the size and depth of the aquifer and consumers' age, health and water drinking habits. However, this cherry orchard floor management research found that by fertigating nitrogen fertilizer at half the normal rate, the amount of nitrate leaching can be reduced by over 90% while maintaining or enhancing profits. If half-rate fertigation were adopted on 10,000 of Northwest Michigan's 15,800 acres of tart cherry production and if soil conditions were similar to those studied, then over 45,000 lbs/year of nitrate leaching could be avoided at no cost to farmers beyond the installation of drip irrigation systems.

PROGRESS: 2002/01/01 TO 2002/12/31
Progress by objective in 2002: Precision agriculture theory article shows how site-specific yield response may increase gains to farmers. But empirical results from south-central Michigan farms showed that although corn yield response to nitrogen fertilization is site-specific, gains from tailored recommendations would not cover added costs of variable-rate application. In pest management research, new MSU Extension bulletin on fruit crop ecology and management is first one to incorporate socio-economic setting that influences crop management, including fruit marketing, land use and human resource management. Published article showing that weed management decision support systems do not increase profits for top farmers. In crop systems nutrient management, staff paper presents economic methods for evaluating trade-offs between profitability and environmental benefits in integrated potato crop systems. International research on agricultural natural resource management initiates collaborative research on environmental management in bean production systems in Central America. Also supervised student research on how Malawi households adjust to premature adult deaths (e.g., due to HIV-AIDS). Major editorial activities including special journal issue on poverty-environment links in Latin America and service as Case Studies Editor of Review of Agricultural Economics.

IMPACT: 2002/01/01 TO 2002/12/31
Swinton's precision agriculture, site-specific yield response research is triggering a re-evaluation of traditional statewide fertilizer recommendations. Farm or field-specific fertilizer recommendations have been shown to be feasible, and could demonstrate water quality benefits if profitability basis for adoption can be established.

PROGRESS: 2001/01/01 TO 2001/12/31
Progress by objective in 2001: In site-specific management, began testing for existence of site-specific corn yield response to nitrogen fertilization using on-farm experimental data from Innovative Farmers of Southcentral Michigan. In pest management, published analysis showing that more cost-efficient pesticide policy would result from amending the Food Quality Protection Act to permit flexible means to meet FQPA food safety goals. Pesticide use in Zimbabwean cotton was linked to acute pesticide poisoning symptoms, suggesting need to adopt protective measures. In crop systems management, began new project on Michigan potato crop rotations and manure use to evaluate trade-offs between profitability and environmental benefits. International research on agricultural natural resource management showed that farmers' perception of soil erosion and their land tenure status affect the willingness of Ethiopian farmers to invest in soil conservation. Among Zimbabwean cotton growers in the past 20 years, smallholder farmers expanded acreage in response to infrastructure and rural security, whereas large-scale commercial farmers responded more to market forces. Continuing analysis of poverty-environment links in the Peruvian highlands shows that deforestation is linked to poverty, but overgrazing to relative wealth.

IMPACT: 2001/01/01 TO 2001/12/31
Swinton's research into agro-environmental policy design led to requests for presentations in 2001 by the World Wildlife Fund and universities in France and Netherlands.

PROGRESS: 2000/01/01 TO 2000/12/31
Progress in 2000 focuses on results by objective. In site-specific management, analysis of 1998-99 precision phosphate, potassium and lime data from on-farm trials in Genessee County showed little yield effect and hence no profitability. Analysis of global patterns of precision agriculture adoption highlights importance of abundant land and capital for adoption of site-specific technologies. In pest management, preliminary analysis of 1999 NASS pesticide use survey data on integrated pest management (IPM) adoption among Michigan tart cherry growers showed that extension efforts in NW Michigan since 1980 have boosted profitability and reduced pesticide use. Among Zimbabwe cotton growers, adoption of IPM is affected more by farmer training than any other factor. In soil management, research on determinants of soil conservation in Ethiopia were published detailing trade-offs in programs that attempt to target food aid to the poorest while also targeting soil conservation in the most suitable places. Sustainable nutrient management in the Peruvian highlands was significantly determined by social capital in the communities.

IMPACT: 2000/01/01 TO 2000/12/31
Michigan adoption of variable rate fertilizer application lags behind Midwest, possibly due to Swinton's research showing its unprofitability for most nutrients on field crops.

PROGRESS: 1999/01/01 TO 1999/12/31
During calendar year 1999, the principal investigator managed this project from the International Potato Center (CIP), where he was on sabbatic leave. At CIP, he began a study of how poverty among Andean small farmers affects their choice of farming practices, and how these, in turn, affect the sustainability of the soil, water and forest resources that these farmers manage. The book he co-edited, "Flexible Incentives for the Adoption of Environmental Technologies in Agriculture," was published by Kluwer in 1999. This book offers a comprehensive mix of public policy and private incentive tools to encourage the adoption of environmental technologies. Regarding implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act, studies were completed on farmer concerns about FQPA implementation, how farmers could be affected by a sudden elimination of key pesticides, and how FQPA could be implemented with least difficult adjustment costs for farmers. An impact assessment tool for use with integrated pest management (IPM) projects went into testing through a supplement to the 1999 USDA NASS Fruit Chemical Use survey addressed to Michigan tart cherry growers. Other IPM research included a) preparing the economics chapter for a report on IPM by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, b) analyzing factors that affect IPM adoption in Peru, and c) advising field research on IPM adoption among Zimbabwe smallholder cotton producers. Precision agriculture research focused on profitability of phosphate and potassium application to Michigan corn and soybean.

IMPACT: 1999/01/01 TO 1999/12/31
The impact of a 1998 article in Journal of Production Agriculture, entitled "Evaluating the profitability of site-specific farming" was illustrated in 1999. Both the Phosphate and Potash Institute and the American Society of Agronomy adapted it into extension publications for farmers and certified crop consultants.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
MICL01905
Accession number
180266
Categories
Microbiome
Parasites
Chemical Contaminants
Natural Toxins
Commodities
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